With the publication of Scarlett, the booming business of merchandising Gone With the Wind coasts happily into its sixth decade. That's right tacky Tara tie-ins have been around since 1939, when advertisements hawked GWTW games, dolls, plates, ties, puzzles, chocolates, lockets, cologne, cups, playing cards, dress patterns, and even nail polish. And in 1989, Tarabilia hit the marketplace again in conjunction with the film's 50th anniversary. Want to create your own collection? Tie-ins to the novel Scarlett are yet to come, but there's plenty of Wind merchandise currently available:
The music box
When you turn the key of Ardleigh Elliott & Sons' ''Scarlett at Twelve Oaks'' porcelain box (which features Scarlett smiling under cheeks so inflamed they may require first aid) you'll hear the tinkling of ''Tara's Theme.'' ''Display it in your home'' for just $34.50, the TV Guide ad suggests.
A facsimile edition of the Gone With the Wind Cookbook: Famous Southern Cooking Recipes, first published in 1940, offers recipes rich in tradition, not to mention enough cholesterol to paint your arteries shut. Feast on such taste temptations as Tara pork scramble or Tara fruit cake. And why not wash it all down with Gone With the Wind wine, vintage 1990, made by that noted Old South vintner Fujisankei? (Available only in Japan).
Namely, ''Gone With the Wind's Miss Scarlett,'' a 1989 magnolia-scented perfume that is now a collector's item. Not ''cheap or commercial,'' said a spokesman at the time. Just how not cheap? Twenty dollars for a 1.7 oz. bottle.
Visit the Disney-MGM Studios theme park in Florida, where the Celebrity 5 & 10 offers a spectacularly embarrassing objet de kitsch for a mere $2.50: the Mammy Hand Fan. Cool yourself on those sultry Atlanta afternoons with a life-size photographic replica of Hattie McDaniel's head, glued to an oversize popsicle stick. Why, it's almost like having her there!